Robbie Slater has hit out at Tim Cahill’s decision to accept an ambassadorial role for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Cahill was recently named as an official ambassador of Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), the organisation responsible for delivering the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup.
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Cahill is now part of a star cast of footballing legends who have endorsed the SC, joining the likes of Xavi, Samuel Eto'o, Cafu and other local and regional sporting luminaries.
But fellow Aussie legend Slater has criticised Cahill’s move, given the controversy around Australia’s failed bid to win the World Cup.
“Look, I think this is a poor choice, I’m sorry. We all love Timmy of course, he’s our greatest Socceroo — that’s undoubtedly his title,” Slater told the Fox Football Podcast.
“It all sounds like a load of crap to me. It’s up to them, they can call it what they want but I don’t agree that Tim should be on it, I’m sorry. I think it’s a poor choice.
“I’m not a left-wing activist who is going to go out there and protest but I think this is a poor choice.”
Qatar has faced allegations of corruption, bribery and human rights violations ever since it won the right to host.
“It’s going to be the most controversial World Cup there’s ever been,” Slater added.
“It’s going to be played at a time that it’s never ever been played before. We all know about everything that went on. Proven or unproven, we had advisers walking away with $15 million from our bid and we got one vote.
“You talk about slave labour and I’m no politician but it left me feeling uneasy as does Tim’s involvement with this does. I just think it’s unnecessary and a poor choice given we were involved.”
.@Tim_Cahill and @SCcorporate have same objectives including the promotion of activities and programmes associated with the World Cup and leaving a long lasting positive impression of the tournament. #QSV2030 #Qatar2022 @MbinH @NasserFAlKhater @AusAmbQatar pic.twitter.com/sQ6d5vQ1BC— Qatar Sports Vision #QSV2030 (@QSV2030) February 10, 2020
Cahill is the Socceroos’ all-time goalscorer with 50 from 108 appearances and featured in four World Cups.
He also has a storied career in the Premier League with Everton, as well as stints in USA, Australia, China and India.
What exactly will Cahill be doing?
The SC's ambassador program aims to promote and deliver the SC’s numerous legacy projects associated with the 2022 World Cup, and to create a lasting positive social change across the region and around the globe.
Cahill is expected to promote activities and programmes like including Generation Amazing, Josoor Institute and Workers’ Welfare, among others.
He will also work with Qatar’s local communities in order to ensure the 2022 World Cup's legacy is long lasting.
Generation Amazing, one of the SC’s flagship Corporate Social Responsibility program, seeks to deliver positive social change through innovative football for development coaching sessions – locally, regionally and internationally.
This project is expected to be a key part of Cahill's work with SC.
“I think joining the SC family was a natural progression for me,” Cahill said. “I’ve been travelling to Qatar since 2008, so have developed a close relationship [with the country] over the years, so to be part of it, and to share the story of Qatar 2022 is pretty special.”
Commenting on the announcement, SC Secretary General H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi, said: “We are delighted to welcome Tim Cahill to our ever expanding family of renowned ambassadors.
“Tim’s credentials as a player are indisputable. To have appeared at four separate World Cups puts him in an elite group – one which Xavi, Eto’o and Cafu are also part of. This makes him, and them, a perfect fit for our SC family.”